We are continuing our successful Crime Fiction theme takeover of the blog. I have lot’s more to share with you this week.
Today on the blog I have Catherine Simpson, author of Truestory.
Catherine Simpson ~ Crime Fiction Takeover Interview
Which crime novel stayed with you long after you had finished?
- I was 24 and training to be a journalist when my lecturer recommended we read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote and The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer, both are recountings of real-life murders. They were examples of ‘The New Journalism’ – real-life stories told using fictional devices – and have stayed with me ever since. I probably didn’t have a view on capital punishment when I read these books nearly 30 years ago but I’ve been vehemently against it ever since.
If you had, to sum up, Edinburgh in four words, what would they be?
- Edinburgh is a seductive, alluring, irresistible show-off.
Who is your favourite fictional crime character and why?
- I’m a bit in love with Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie – a Yorkshire-born, Edinburgh-dwelling Private Investigator, played rather beautifully by Jason Isaacs in the tv series, Case Histories.
What is your favourite part of Edinburgh and why?
- This is like asking ‘which part of a Yorkshire pudding is your favourite?’ – All of it! Where ever you look in Edinburgh, at whatever time of day, at whatever time of year, there is the city doing its wonderful stuff. (Although see Q 9)
If you could have dinner with four fictional crime characters who would they be?
- I would have dinner with Jackson Brodie (for obvious reasons), Sherlock Holmes (for his insight) Stella Moon, of The Confession of Stella Moon, (for atmosphere) and Roddie Macrae, of His Bloody Project, (to ask: What’s the score, Roddy?’)
About your own work, where do you find inspiration for your books?
- Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere: art, observations, personal experiences, overheard conversations, musings, wonderings, wanderings, anything.
If your current book had a theme song what would it be?
- I’ve just checked the playlist I put together when writing Truestory ( a novel about a woman struggling to raise her son who has Autism). Kooks by David Bowie is on there – a song Bowie wrote for his son – so that seems about right.
Write the scene of a crime for us, set in Edinburgh, one paragraph long. Include these three items ~ Banana, Greyfriars Bobby and The Wash Bar.
The body lay sprawled in The Wash Bar, clutching a banana etched with the words ‘Greyfriar’s Bobby.’
The body lay sprawled on Greyfriar’s Bobby clutching a wash bar etched with the word ‘banana’.
The body lay sprawled on a banana clutching Greyfriar’s Bobby etched with the words ‘The Wash Bar’.
Do you have any events lined up either online or in person that my readers could attend?
- I’ve just had a short story included in the ‘Echoes of the City’ Project. This is a lovely idea – you can download the app ‘Podwalk’ and listen to trained actors read you a story set in different parts of Edinburgh as you walk around the city. My story is called ‘Giuseppe and Rosa go up in the World’. It is set on Easter Road and inspired by my in-laws who immigrated to Scotland from Italy in the late 1950s. Echoes Of The City
Could you tell us about your current novel and how you got inspired to write it?
- I am currently working on a memoir called ‘When I had a Little Sister’. I’ve been lucky enough to receive nine-months’ mentoring from Scottish Book Trust to help me work on it. It’s about loss and grief and mental illness and about how weird and funny-haha and funny-peculiar families are.
How can my readers connect with you?
Truestory By Catherine Simpson
On a remote Lancashire farm, eleven year old Sam seeks answers to life’s big questions online. His mother Alice’s life is dictated by Sam’s strange ways and her husband’s fecklessness as their money runs out. When Duncan brings home a stranger to help with his latest scheme, Alice is furious. Sam can’t cope with change. But Larry beguiles Sam with his maps and, as he works his magic, Alice falls for him too.
By turns hilarious and tragic, Truestory examines how we are all trapped in our own lives, yet sometimes have more options than we realise.
Quote from James Robertson: ‘Catherine Simpson does not waste words. She has that rare ability to conjure up people and places, how they look and how they sound, in just a sentence or two. Her writing is vivid perceptive and acute and she deserves a wide readership.’
Thank you so much for being on my blog today, Catherine, you are so inspiring, genuine and gentle. You have been incredibly supportive of my wee blog and I will always be very grateful.
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